|What are some
of your earliest recollections of the horror genre? What made
you want to make movies?
As a child, I grew up being attracted like a moth to the flame
to horror films. We used to stay up late and watch USA Up All
Night or Tales From The Crypt. It wasnt until high school
where I realized that there was more to movies than just explosions
and laughter. I had a realization of the artform involved, and
that became very interesting.
Tell us a little about how you got started in the industry...
Did you go to school for film? What were your first attempts at
I began working
at a TV station in Key West when I was 16 years old, as a camera
operator. From there I went through Television Production in
high school, making short films about sheep on fire and goofy
little moments that entertained my friends. I went to college
for film, but did not get accepted into the film schools. I
continued to make shorts, until we decided to make one really
long short, our first feature, The Night Owl.
Tell us about Abyssmal Entertainment. What prompted you to start the
company? What do you hope to accomplish with it?
|We incorporated Abyssmal
in 2002, just 3 years after its conception. We are a fully functioning
production house, offering camera, audio, lighting, editing packages,
ect. We have been branching off lately, just finished producing
a pilot for a new sketch comedy show, producing some original
music for the Hoodoo For Voodoo soundtrack, a Night Owl comic
book is in the works, and most recently we are doing some professional
photography. It is my goal to be producing one to two feature
films a year, and writing and directing one each year. We hope
to eventually solidify a spot in the industry, and do this the
rest of our lives.
What are some of the challenges you face as an indie filmmaker in
Florida? What are some of the perks?
The biggest challenge
personally, is the heat. We only get two months out of the year
that are comfortable to shoot outdoors. The industry here is
nonexistent. Many people believe that Florida is the next California,
but with our Hurricane season, the extremely wet summers, and
the minimal tax incentives, its not exactly a postcard
of a production location. Luckily independent film thrives here,
especially in Central Florida.
|We have four film
schools right next to each other, constantly pumping out new kids
who want to get on set. This becomes helpful in grabbing crew
members eager to work. The industry here is also a very small-town
type atmosphere. Everybody knows everybody else. It makes networking
a whole lot easier.
Tell us about Hoodoo For Voodoo. How did that movie come about? What
were some of your experiences like making it?
We were wrapping
up production for another feature I helped produce, Andre The
Butcher (formerly known as Dead Meat), and I was ready for another
project. I was born in Louisiana, and my Father had just moved
back there. I visited, and was excited to remember how beautiful
it is over there. The locations are fantastic, and I always
shoot on Location. So I decided I wanted to make a film to be
|We advertised looking
for screenwriters around the country, and got about 15 different
treatments written to our specifications. I was interested in
only one. It was about a Voodoo Queen who runs a scam ritual.
Similar to Leap Of Faith with Steve Martin, only with Voodoo.
We had some crazy experiences, and it was shot over a period of
tweleve days, eight in Louisiana and four in Florida. Long hours,
no sleep, shooting all over the state. It was pretty incredible.
|How did Tiffany
Shepis and Debbie Rochon get involved in HOODOO FOR VOODOO?
We ended having issues with getting the proper make up for one
of the harder death sequences in the film, and by the time we
had gotten organized, the actress we had cast, moved on. So
at the last minute, we re-casted with the most triumphant Tiffany
Shepis, who came in and gave a stellar performance. Debbie stars
in my Co-Producer Jason Liquori's Feature Length Short Compilation
"DEATH PLOTS" (www.hocfocprod.com),
and while she was nearby shooting that, we had her jump in for
a hilarious cameo.
Tell us a little about Andre the Butcher and The Night Owl.
The Night Owl
was our first attempt at feature film making. We made six short
films back to back in 2001, and we decided we were ready to
move on up. We wrote the script very simply (1 location, 4 actors)
to make it very cheap and easy. When it was completed, it was
picked up through Brain Damage Films and released in a 4 pack
with 3 other movies titled Wicked Intentions. It was released
in stores in July of 2005.
Andre The Butcher
is a film I helped produce that was directed by Phil Cruz and
James Hyde. I remember them casting, and the plot sounded most
excellent, so I called them up to see if they could use any
help. It shot for two weeks in an orange grove just outside
of Lake Wales, Fl. It was picked up by ThinkFilm, and should
be released early 2006.
Tell us about your charity work with Superior Mutts.
Superior Mutts is a local Orlando charity that rescues homeless animals.
My co-producer on Hoodoo For Voodoo, Jason Liquori approached me about
the potential of a charity calendar/poster featuring our Ladies on it.
It was put together by Christopher Murphy over at Superior Mutts.
Do you have
a "dream project"? Something you would love to make?
My dream project would probably be a script that I have been
holding onto for a while called Fork Of Death. It is a story
of a demonically possessed fork and the trouble that ensues
when it is released on a shopping mall. Think The Mask with
much more blood. There are lots of stories that we have that
we would just need larger budgets for.
Whats up next for you and Abyssmal?
We are working
on post production for Hoodoo For Voodoo right now, in Los Angeles
and Orlando. Next we are planning to do a short Horror-Musical
called, The Sound Of Screaming. And I am working on another
feature length script for our next feature titled, The Bends.
Its a mixture of Lost and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
I will also be producing a couple more films next year.
Awesome. What's your opinion on the independent horror scene?
I think it is definitely advancing faster than any other genre. You
have independents like Lucky McGee and Dante Tomaselli moving up really
fast, leading the way for many others. Not to mention the convention
and internet capabilities. Independent directors have a huge market
with the Internet, to be able to advertise and promote, all over the
world without spending a dime. The Horror genre had always had a great
following and very loyal and dedicated fans that refuse to let it die.